Impact of patient characteristics on performance of nucleic acid amplification tests and DNA probe for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis in women with genital infections

Academic Article


  • The performance of nucleic acid amplified tests (NAAT) for Chlamydia trachomatis at the cervix and in urine was examined in 3,551 women, and the impacts of clinical findings (age, endocervical and urethral inflammation, menses, and gonococcal coinfection) were assessed. Ligase chain reaction (LCR) and first-generation uniplex PCR were studied relative to an unamplified DNA probe (PACE2) and to an expanded, independent diagnostic reference standard. Relative to the expanded standard, cervical or urine LCR was generally toe most sensitive test in most subgroups. Increased detection by NAAT of cervical C. trachomatis over PACE2 was highest among women without mucopurulent endocervical discharge versus those with (relative increase in positivity with cervical LCR, 46%) and among women 2:20 years old versus younger women (relative increase in positivity with cervical LCR, 45%). The sensitivity of cervical PCR was highest when mucopurulent endocervical discharge was present (84%) and highest for cervical LCR when cervical gonococcal coinfection was detected (91%). Urethral inflammation was associated with higher sensitivities of urine LCR (86 compared to 70% when inflammation was absent) and PCR (82 compared to 62% when inflammation was absent). Menses had no effect on test performance. The effects of patient characteristics on test specificities were less pronounced and were closely related to observed sensitivities. These findings support expanded use of NAAT for screening and diagnosis of C. trachomatis in diverse clinical populations of women.
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    Author List

  • Marrazzo JM; Johnson RE; Green TA; Stamm WE; Schachter J; Bolan G; Hook EW; Jones RB; Martin DH; St. Louis ME
  • Start Page

  • 577
  • End Page

  • 584
  • Volume

  • 43
  • Issue

  • 2